THE HIDDEN WORLD OF Ilja Visser
Ilja Visser is a Dutch fashion designer who founded both a couture line called 'Ilja' and a commercial label, Ready to fish_. Her studio, showroom and brand store are based in the city centre of Amsterdam. She studied Fashion Design at the Arts Academy in Arnhem (NL). The fine skills were learned during her apprenticeships with Donna Karan in New York and Maria Cornejo.More
The Hidden World sat down with Agatha and Danijela of Ilja’s design team. Both got back from a trip to Munich and Paris looking for fabrics. Hidden World wanted to know everything from this trip and found out that choosing a fabric is something of a love affair….
THW: You’ve been a long time from home. What have you been up to?
A&D: We first went to Munich Fabric START and afterwards to Premiere Vision in Paris. These are fabric trade shows where we look for fabrics. Agatha looked for the 2012 Autumn/Winter collection for ILJA. Danijela was in search for the 2013 Summer collection of Ready to fish_.
Both shows are for three days and there are thousands of exhibitors showing their supplies. It’s fabrics, fabrics and fabrics everywhere….
THW: Is there a difference between the two?
A&D: Yes, there are few more fabric shows and it depends on your calendar which one you can attend. However, Premiere Vision is the premier leading fabric show as it’s the most international one with the most exhibitors including more high end suppliers. Everybody in fashion plans around that show.
The reason we went to both is that when you visit more fabric shows it allows you to generate an idea. You don’t depend on that one show for your choice of fabric. Maybe an idea is planted in your head at the first one and by the second trade show you have a clear view of what fabric to choose.
T: But don’t you have a view of what fabric you need already?
A&D: Yes and no. The concept of the collection we’re for on the lookout is clear. We’ve already collected the pictures for the mood board and an idea of what type or color of fabric we want. However, this is not set in stone.
Plus, there’s so much to see and there are so many new developments . The fabrics are presented within different trends and you have exhibitors that specialize in ecological fabrics for example. You’re really doing your research to see what is on sale. And then again, you also get inspired for future collections as well.
THW: When there’s so much on display and to choose from…. How do you know what to pick?
A&D: Oh the fabric picks you… Really, it’s like a love affair. Going through thousands of hangers with fabrics from the suppliers, when you see your fabric you just know.
A&D: Yes really… As we said, the concept of the collection is clear in your head. The first days you’re browsing but you’re getting closer to the fabric you need. When you see it, it’s clear!
THW: And then? Does it have a happy ending?
A&D: Ha, that’s the thing… you don’t know! You have to imagine that you’re looking through hangers with small sections of the fabrics - like when you’re shopping for curtains. You don’t buy the fabric immediately, you order a hanger and for some fabrics you order a coupon.
THW: What’s that?
A&D: A coupon is a 3-meter piece of the fabric. Back at the studio we use the coupons to make prototypes of the design to see whether it really works and how the fabric falls.
THW: And then??
A&D: Well, you’re always anxious to see the hangers and coupons back in the studio. Do you still have the same feeling with the fabric like when you were on the show? Imagine seeing you’re long-distance boyfriend at the airport, wondering whether you still have that same feeling.
THW: Ah, the love affair again….
A&D: Exactly! But another disappointment could be that when you finish your prototype you realise that it doesn’t work. Sometimes that’s heartbreaking.
Plus it’s nerve wrecking as it takes some time for the hangers and fabrics to come in and you’re on a tight schedule. For the Wanderlust collection, Danijela had a tough time because the orders were delayed. A lot of stress!
THW: An affair to remember then?
D: Hahaha, well, I’m glad it all came to a good end…
THW: Isn’t a fabric show with thousands and thousands of hangers for three days super-exhausting??
A&D: Sure, but it’s not only fabrics. You meet all the people of the industry so it’s a good networking opportunity. In Paris, we ran into Paul Smith and Haiden Ackermann for instance. And the stand of the Italian suppliers always have good espresso’s ;-)
Afterwards, we go and check the most important shops like Colette and Bonne Marché in Paris to see what the other top designers are doing. Actually, that’s also researching! But hey, we’re creatives so you’re always looking for inspiration ;-)
By A Web Design Company